A question parents frequently ask is “When should my child get braces?” Often the answer isn’t simple. Two equally qualified orthodontists will likely give you a different answer. To complicate matters more, they may differ on their treatment plans as well. So why this disparity? What should you do? While there is no “perfect age” for braces, there are some factors to help determine when your child is an ideal candidate for them.
The first thing you should do is book an evaluation with your orthodontist. Orthodontists specialize in diagnosing and correcting problems with the teeth and face, and will be able to assess whether your child needs braces.
The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends children should be evaluated by the time they are age 7. However, some circumstances may require earlier intervention, such as:
-Excessive overcrowding of teeth
-Open bites: when the upper and lower front teeth fail to meet
-Overbites: when the upper teeth protrude past the lower teeth
-Underbites: when the lower teeth protrude past the upper teeth
-Crossbites: when the upper and lower jaw fail to line up
Phase I and Phase II Treatment
The phase I treatment (also know as early intervention treatment) starts before all the permanent teeth have grown in (often when the child is 6 to 10 years old). This treatment is usually recommended to make more space for the developing teeth and correct oral problems, such as overbites and cross bites. Phase I treatment often involves limited dental hardware, such as expanders and partial braces.
Phase II treatment (also known as comprehensive treatment) begins when the child is older (age 11 to 13) and when all their permanent teeth have grown in. This treatment usually involves full braces.
Whether your child will need phase I or II treatment will depend on the state of their teeth and if the orthodontist feels earlier intervention is required.
Why early examinations are beneficial
Having your children examined earlier (before age 7) has numerous benefits, including:
-Long-term treatment can be properly determined
-Oral problems can be identified earlier
-Teeth can be more easily guided for braces, reducing the time they have to be worn
Talk to your orthodontist and together you can come up with the best treatment plan for your child. Braces not only help straighten teeth, they also enhance your child’s self confidence by improving their smile. At Dream Orthodontics, Dr Morra is qualified and experienced to help you determine when your child is ready for braces. Please contact our office for a free consultation. 604-542-8552.